Snapshots of the Past was founded in May 2001 in Pittsburgh. The business operated as a print seller for 15 years before closing in 2016. In 2023, it re-established it's web presence again.  We are thankful for the efforts of hundreds of hardworking people over the past decade, not to mention the outstanding archivist work of the Library of Congress for a decade or two before that.

Historian Michael J. Simpson has written an insightful article On Nostalgia describing the role Snapshots of the Past has played in the growing demand for nostalgic material on the Internet.

Snapshots was one of the first companies to make images in the archives of the Library of Congress publicly available as museum-quality, fine art reproductions. We have sold to tens of thousands of customers online, in over 30 countries, and to hundreds of specialty retailers across the country.

We prepared our galleries for both researchers and consumers alike, and the forthcoming updates to the site will contain hundreds of hand-curated galleries drawn from Library's archives. Browsers can search by keyword to find any person, place, or event in history, or browse different galleries by themes of interest.

Reproduction prints were previously sold using some of the most respected brands of fine art / archival paper in the industry. Prints were made with archival paper and pigmented inks which can be enjoyed for a lifetime and passed down to future generations. 


“A great revolution in the history of poster prints was the development of printing techniques that allowed for inexpensive, mass production. The most notable of these, lithography, was invented in 1796. It was soon followed by chromolithography, which allowed for large numbers of posters to be illustrated in vibrant colors. By the 1890s, these techniques had spread throughout Europe. A number of noted artists created poster art in this period and posters would soon transform the thoroughfares of Paris into the “art galleries of the street.” Due to their commercial success, some artists were in great demand. Theater stars personally selected their favorite artist to create posters for an upcoming performance. The popularity of poster art was such that in 1884 a major exhibition was held in Paris. By the 1890s, poster art had widespread usage in Europe and America, advertising everything from bicycles to bullfights.

In 1989, a pilot project aptly titled American Memory laid the foundation for the National Digital Library Program, which began in 1995. This program works to digitize selected collections of the Library of Congress that emphasize the complex history of an American cultural heritage. Not only serving to digitize books, pamphlets and manuscripts, the Digital Library Program also works extensively to collect images that reflected the unique and vast holdings of the Library of Congress.” (Library of Congress)